entertainment

Labour leader Keir Starmer backs 'women-only spaces' in 'specific circumstances'

"Our position on this has not changed," Starmer's spokesperson said today

2021-09-22

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Wiki

Labour leader Keir Starmer has reportedly said he backs "women's-only spaces" in "specific circumstances."

A spokesperson for Starmer spoke out about the politician's position on the matter today, after Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, called on him to meet with her and other female MPs to "clarify" the party's stance on trans issues.

The spokesman continued that Starmer stands behind party policy put forward during the last election, adding there's “no reason to expect it is going to change”.

He also said Labour backs “the implementation of the Equality Act, including the single-sex exemption which allows the provision of women-only spaces”.

"Our position on this has not changed"

Sir Starmer's spokesperson said [as per The Independent]: "Debate should always be held in an atmosphere of respect for all points of view."

They added: “Keir met with Rosie Duffield yesterday [21 September 2021], following on from her request for a meeting.

“Our position on this has not changed [from the 2019 manifesto].

“What we have said is that Labour would work to update the Gender Recognition Act to enable a process for gender identification.

“And we also continue to support the implementation of the Equality Act, including the single-sex exemption which allows the provision of women-only spaces. This law rightly assumes the inclusion of trans women, except in specific circumstances.”

The spokesperson added that Starmer also met separately with LGBT Labour MPs to discuss the matter.

Duffield recently told Radio 4's Today programme she is not attending next week's Labour Party conference in Brighton after receiving threats of violence over her views on trans issues.

“I took the decision a few weeks ago not to go,” she said. “I didn’t want to be the centre of attention. This is Keir Starmer’s first conference speech since the pandemic. I think it’s really important we focus on that and the policies that emerge from [the] conference. I really did not want to be the news story.”

On Monday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan spoke out in support of trans and non-binary Londoners, telling Attitude of recently-leaked remarks from Tory equalities minister Kemi Badenoch about trans women being "men": "Those comments don’t help. I think they cause huge offense. [...] The trans community is one of the most vulnerable in our society. We should be looking to support them, rather than playing on stereotypes or fears.”